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Kevin dundon opera cake flip
Harry Weir

Opéra-Style Chocolate Stout Cake

This recipe from Kevin Dundon is an Irish take on a classic French dessert.

Serving: 12-16
Time: 3 hours +
Difficulty: Difficult


For the sponge:

  • 90g dark chocolate
  • 135g butter, softened
  • 135g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 65g plain flour

For the stout reduction:

  • 400ml Irish stout
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 30ml honey

For the dark chocolate mousse:

  • 125g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 250ml double cream, lightly whipped to soft peaks

For the milk chocolate mousse:

  • 125g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 200ml double cream, lightly whipped

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 90g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 150ml double cream
  • 30ml water
  • 40g runny honey
  • 20g Irish stout reduction
  • 25g butter, cubed
  • 100g Yellowman candy or honeycomb


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line two 22x22cm baking sheets with grease-proof paper.
  2. First, prepare the chocolate sponge. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in another bowl and beat until soft.
  3. Place the sugar and eggs in a third bowl and beat until pale and fluffy.
  4. Remove the chocolate from the heat and fold in the soft butter. Combine with the egg mixture, then gently fold in the sieved flour. Divide the mixture equally among the prepared baking sheets and spread into an even layer 5mm thick. Bake for six to eight minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Then, prepare the stout reduction. In a medium-sized pot, combine the stout and sugar; simmer on a very low heat for approximately 10-15 minutes until reduced by half. Stir it from time to time. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the dark chocolate mousse. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for two to three minutes. Add in the egg yolk and stir well. Then, fold in one-third of the whipped cream, then whisk in the remainder. It will soften the mixture and loosen its consistency.
  7. Whisk the egg white into a clean bowl until stiff. Gently fold into the chocolate cream mixture. Set aside.
  8. Repeat the same process using milk chocolate for the milk chocolate mousse.
  9. To assemble the cake, line a deep baking tin 22cmx22cm with three layers of clingfilm, allowing it to generously overhang on the edges. Build the layers of the cake as follows: sponge, a drizzle of stout reduction, dark chocolate mousse, sponge, and milk chocolate mousse. Cover with the overhanging clingfilm and freeze overnight.
  10. The next day, prepare the chocolate glaze. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour the cream, water and honey in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
  11. Pour the boiled cream mixture a little at a time onto the melted chocolate, at least three times. Mix with a spatula until shiny, then add the stout reduction and butter.
  12. Remove the cake from the baking tin. Place the frozen cake onto a wire rack over a tray (to catch any drips) and pour the glaze over the surface.  Spread it out smoothly with a palette knife, then place in the refrigerator for four to six hours to set.
  13. Before serving, trim the cake edges evenly using a knife dipped in warm water.
  14. Use the same technique to cut the cake into slices, serve with an extra brittle of Yellowman candy and some stout reduction.

Recipe: Kevin Dundon

Photography: Harry Weir, assisted by Brian Clarke

For more Kevin Dundon recipes, click here.


  • It should be prepared a day before required because it’s quite complicated and must be frozen overnight.
  • Yellowman is a chewy honeycomb from Northern Ireland but you can use any good honeycomb.
  •  It’s best to cut this when it’s still frozen then allow to thaw for 30 minutes before serving.